When computing, I like a consistent user interface. When on Windows, I want Windows-widgets and when on Mac I want Mac-widgets :). And, for the most part, I haven’t had problems of that nature. But, Mozilla Firebird on Mac OS has always bugged me a little bit. It’s a great browser, of course, but it has its own widget set. For example, select pulldowns (as you might find for a State on a form) have a pull-down arrow and scrollbars — just as you’d find on Windows.
So, at a New Years get-together last night, Ru whipped out his 12" PowerBook to show us one of his favorite Flash movies (Cow Bondage, FWIW) and I noticed that his browser had all the native Mac widgets! After a quick glance to the menubar, I noticed that he was running Camino. I had heard of Camino before — a browser with the Gecko rendering engine along with a Mac-tastic interface — but I had assumed that development dwindled once Firebird came about.
As it turns out, the Camino project is alive and well. So, I downloaded the latest Camino nightly and gave it a try just now. I loaded it up and it was like putting on an old pair of shoes that fit in all the right places. I had all my familiar widgets and I was ready to make the browser transition from Firebird. But, trouble soon began to seep in…
I first checked the Windows menu for the DOM Inspector but I couldn’t find it. Not that regular web surfers have much need for such a tool, but I find it an indespensible resource for web development. So, I can perhaps understand why the Camino team omitted it from their project, but I was still a bit bummed about that.
I checked for tabbed-browsing and, sure enough, it has there (Apple-T opened a new tab, just like Firebird). And, all the familiar keyboard shortcuts worked as well (such as Apple-L to load the URL bar). But, Camino didn’t react to the right mouse button as I expected. I right-cliked on the Back button and only got a context menu for configuring the toolbar (not a list of sites that I could go back to).
I really wanted to like Camino, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Sure, maybe I could find some work-around to the Back-button right-click bit, but there’d still be the DOM Inspector issue. And, now that Firebird has DOM Inspector built-in, there’s not much of an incentive for anyone to create a DOM Inspector browser extension either.
My best bet may be a matter of getting native widgets into Firebird instead of trying to get all of Firebird’s functionality into Camino :-/. But, I don’t have my hopes up about that either; a quick search of Bugzilla for “widget” bugs on Mac OS didn't come up with anything useful. Perhaps there’re no plans to make use of native Mac widgets on Firebird — maybe the Firebird developers perceive that Camino has filled that role.